Jason was sent to bed early one night because he had gotten into trouble again.
He was very sorry. He hadn’t meant to get into trouble. He had been playing with a ball inside the house and accidentally knocked over one of his mother’s vases with it. It had broken on the ground.
“You know you’re not supposed to play inside like Jason”, his mother had said to him. “Go to your room for the rest of the night!”
He said he was sorry; he knew he was wrong. He didn’t think he would break anything. It was just that he was bored, and it was so cold that evening that he didn’t want to go outside again.
They lived in Nunavut, where the winters were very cold and full of lots of snow. During the day he could play in the snow and have fun, but as the sun got lower, it became too cold, and he had to stay inside.
Laying on his bed, Jason couldn’t get to sleep. It was just past dinner time; he usually didn’t go to bed until much later.
Jason thought of his father, who was a hunter. Sometimes his father stayed out for days or weeks hunting with other men. Tonight, he was out hunting too. Jason didn’t know when he’d be back.
The little boy thought of the story of Nanuk, which his father had told him about.
“Nanuk is the master of bears”, he told him. “He is the reason we respect all animals we hunt, especially the Canadian polar bear.
When we hunt, we have to treat the animal with great respect. We make sure we use every part of it so that none of it goes to waste.
If a polar bear is hunted and treated with the proper care and respect, then the other polar bears hear of it and are more willing to be hunted by him. But, if a hunter doesn’t treat the polar bear he hunts with respect and doesn’t use all of his meat for food or his hide for clothing, then the polar bears stay away from the hunter.
Jason fell asleep dreaming he was older and hunting with his father. It was just the two of them in his dream, and they had just shot a bear. They put it on a sled so that they could carry it back and treat their kill with the proper care.
This wasn’t the first polar bear they’d successfully hunted, and they always followed the respectful steps. They would use every part of the bear, hang its hide in a special place in the house, and, most importantly, offer the bear’s spirit tokens.
As they carried the bear through the snow, a big storm came upon them. The temperature dropped. It became cold and dark. Big flakes of snow and heavy winds made it hard to see and walk.
They lost their sense of direction and didn’t know how they would get home. Then, not far away on top of a small hill, they saw two glowing dots. They walked towards it because they thought there were campfires or lights in the distance.
As they got close, they saw that it was Nanuk. Nanuk brought them to a cave on the side of the hill where they waited out the storm.
Nanuk said “I thank you for your respect,” and he went out into the storm after knowing Jason and his father were safe inside the cave to wait out the storm. And, that was how Jason’s dream ended.